Now that the dust has settled on what has been a deemed a successful experiment to bring international rugby league to a North American audience, what is the next step for the ‘Denver Test’?
Does the match stay in the Mile High City as a yearly test, building on the fan base from this year’s spectacle, or is it taken on the road around North America with a new location each year to highlight the sport to as many people as possible?
It’s an interesting thought, so here are five potential destinations for a North American test match in 2019.
Toronto, Canada’s biggest city, is the only location on this list that already has an established rugby league side, namely the Wolfpack, so bringing international rugby league to that part of the world would be an easy sell.
There’s a clear passion for the sport from the Toronto natives; anyone who has watched a Wolfpack game or been there can tell you that, so why not bring England vs New Zealand to the city?
The game could take place at BMO Field Stadium, home of Toronto FC. Whilst not at the size or scope of the Mile High Stadium, seeing a near full stadium of 25,000 people would be one hell of a sight for anyone that loves international rugby league.
The Wolfpack have set the foundations in Toronto, meaning that the international game could easily build on what has been started in Toronto.
Next up, we are staying in Canada and to the neighbouring city of Montreal, which boast the biggest stadium in all of Canada with the city’s Olympic Stadium.
With England having already tasted what it’d be like to play at an Olympic Stadium in London, now named the imaginative London Stadium, it would be amazing for the sport to play in such an arena.
If there is to the continuation of playing the test in vast venues that holds tens of thousands, the Olympic Stadium in Montreal could be high on the list.
The sport is growing in Canada thanks to the work that is being done in Toronto, and a game here could start a similar love for the sport.
Moving south down to America and to one of the cities that has proposed joining the English leagues with a Boston based franchise.
Taking a test match to Boston in 2019 would be a good move to keep the appeal of international rugby league in America, but also to gauge the interest of a potential fan base should Boston enter League One, the third tier of English rugby league, in the future.
While it would take some reconfiguration in terms of the pitch, the match could played in one of the most prestigious stadiums in world sport, Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Socks.
Playing a match in such a stadium would be a huge boost for the sport, showing the American audience that this is a sport that can command to play in some of the highest profile venues around the world.
New York City
Keeping with cities that have proposed franchises, New York is next on the list. With talks of the franchise wanting to sign the likes of Jarryd Hayne and Sam Burgess, there is no shortage of ambition.
There have also been rumblings that the Magic Weekend could even find a temporary home in the Big Apple.
If either of the above comes into to fruition in the future, New York City hosting a test match would be a logical step if the powers that be are serious about pushing the sport in the city.
Like with Fenway Park, there would need to be changes to the pitch at the Yankee Stadium as it is primarily a baseball field, but it is changed often for the homes fixtures of New York City FC.
Another stadium of huge scope, it would certainly be fitting for a England test match.
Last on the list and easily the most logical. Keep the ‘Denver Test’ in Denver.
Around 20,000 spectators saw England beat New Zealand in the Mile High Stadium two weeks ago and there is a clear opportunity for growth in the Denver arena.
South Sydney Rabbitohs co-owner and Hollywood star, Russell Crowe, was in attendance for the test match and recently spoke about how it’s time for rugby league to go global.
Whilst there might be to the temptation to take the test match on the road around North America, building a supporter base in Denver should be first on the agenda.
How good would it be to see 30 or 40,000 thousand people watch an England match in the coming years outside of England? The potential is there, if the right people take notice.
Where would you like to see England v New Zealand held next? Let us know in the comments